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Annual African-American Heritage Celebration

February 5, 2023

On Sunday, February 5, 2023, we celebrated our African-American Heritage with a 10 am Mass at St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy Church – A annual gathering of community embracing the Black Experience in history and holiness.

This year’s event was even more special than usual, since it was honored by St. Catherine-St. Lucy and St. Giles as one parish of “Akwaaba – Welcome”. The celebration followed by a Pot Luck after Mass.

A NOTE FROM FATHER CARL – Joyful, soulful, prayerful, colorful and beautiful would be some of the words that described the celebration of Mass at our St. Catherine-St. Lucy Church site last Sunday as we kicked off African American Heritage Month. Members of our many choirs came together and provided the music for our liturgy which was then followed by a wonderful potluck brunch where folks could mix and mingle over some tasty dishes.

In my homily, I spoke about the many challenges that family life must face today including the family of humanity and our family community as church. One of the pressing concerns is a lack of leadership in our common, societal life. Be it politics, business, education, or health care, we seem to have a lack of credible leaders. Many who offer to serve as leaders either lack the necessary skills or come with an agenda that doesn’t make sense or threatens to divide rather than unite.

It’s easy to become frustrated and angry. I focused on our need to go inside ourselves and find the courage to take Jesus’ call to action to heart. That call, clear in last week’s scriptures, was to be salt of the earth and light to the world.

To that end, we all need to think about one life-changing attitude or action we can take to be the salt and light that brings unity and peace to our small corners of the world. Imagine the difference we can make if we all try harder to lift up the values Jesus teaches: kindness, tolerance, acceptance, listening more to understand.

As we work toward unification and building a new reality together, I share this thought that I closed my homily with. Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, talks about the power of extravagant tenderness in one of his books. He wrote, “Authentic Christianity never circles the wagons, it always widens the circle!”

A heartfelt thank you to all who helped plan the liturgy, advertised our gathering, provided music and song, served, ushered and set-up the gym and brought or donated food for our shared meal. What a beautiful, united effort and a reminder of what can be accomplished when we work together.

Father Carl Morello
Pastor of St. Catherine-St. Lucy and St. Giles Parish